Swen Temmel discusses his role as ‘Cal’ in new crime thriller Survive The Game, which stars Bruce Willis and Chad Michael Murray. Swen also shares why he thinks this film stands out compared to others in the same genre.
Originally from Austria, Swen Temmel moved to the US in the 1990s and later began his acting career, notably with a recurring role on The Bay in 2019-2020. Read on below for the full Swen Temmel interview with Courageous Nerd or alternatively, check out our YouTube for the audio version.
Welcome Swen and thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Swen Temmel (ST): Thank you very much for having me on.
We’ll be primarily chatting about your role in upcoming thriller Survive The Game. Before we get into that directly, could you discuss how you first got into acting and what inspired you to pursue a career in this industry?
ST: Yeah, absolutely. For me… I was born in Austria and moved [to the United States] with my family. My Dad had a restaurant where Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, all those guys would come and visit. I was so fascinated by it, because I watched their movies. Then, I would see them in person and be so confused that they could be 2-3 different people. They would take you along this ride in movies…that’s actually what sparked my interest in the beginning.
I wanted to take people on these journeys, on this ride of emotions. Let them escape reality for a couple of hours.
Could you tease the plot of Survive The Game and your character, without giving too much away?
ST: I play “Cal”, Bruce Willis’ partner in crime. The movie is pretty much action-packed from start to finish. It deals with two cops that are after these drug dealers. I get a little bit hot-headed, ahead of myself, sick and tired of these people ruining lives that I don’t really think about it. I just run into this warehouse without thinking twice and well, things don’t go so well.
The chase ensues onto this farm where Chad Michael Murray’s character lives. Then, it’s our job to take down the bad guys.
As well as yourself, the cast also includes Bruce Willis and Chad Michael Murray. I’ve also interviewed the film’s director, James Cullen Bressack. How was your experience of working with those guys?
ST: Working with James is just incredible. From the start, he knew just how his vision for the movie was. We got along from the second we met. We just bonded and that’s really important as an actor – you trust your director that he knows what he’s doing and that he can trust you with what he wants you to do. We bonded from the first second and I loved working with him. I hope to work with him again in the future. He had some strong ideas for the movie and I think they worked out really well.
Working with Bruce is just a dream come true. I’ve worked with him in the past on some other movies but not in this capacity where we’re partners, we work together. Actually, I had to create that and make that real for me. It really wasn’t that difficult with him because he’s so professional, he knows what he’s doing. He brings something special and something you know he can do really well. He made me feel comfortable from the second we got in that car and started rolling cameras.
How different or similar was the audition process for this film compared to any other project you’ve done?
ST: I knew some of the producers who worked on this film and when they read the script, they gave me a call and said, “Hey Swen, we think you’d be perfect for this role of ‘Cal’. What do you think?” So I read it, took a look at it and fell in love with it right away because there’s a lot of similarities between Cal and myself. Yeah, so that’s how that went. Sometimes, it’s just about who you know.
In your opinion, what makes Survive The Game stand out from other crime-thriller films out there?
ST: I think it just has more heart than some of the other action movies. You actually feel… each one of the bad guys has a very strong personality. It’s not like, “Oh there’s Goon 1, there’s Goon 2, Goon 3 and so on.” You go, “Oh, the one with the mohawk, the girl, the guy with the tattoos.” They all have such rich personalities and then Chad’s character, my character, Bruce’s character – everyone has such a strong personality in this movie, that I think that’s what really makes it. James is very good at making every character feel important. There’s not a single character in this movie that’s a sort-of fly-by or just there to say a word or two. Each character really is important to the movie, he really made sure people know that.
Did you move from Austria to Los Angeles directly to become an actor? Or did you move earlier and fell into acting that way? What advice would the younger Swen Temmel give to aspiring actors?
ST: I moved [to LA] when I was younger because my Dad started businesses here, so the whole family moved out here. Then, I kind of fell into the acting world. If it’s something you truly feel passionate about, if it’s something you really are willing to give your life to… dedicate time, money and effort to, I would say go for it, why not? Everyone’s got a dream to do something. If you have a dream to be an actor, go ahead and pursue it. You do it with 110%. If you say, “Yeah, I’ll give it a try”, there’s no point. If it’s something where “I really want to do this, I really want to become an actor.” Then, go for it. Do everything possible to try and make it because you can.
Professionally or personally, what do you hope to accomplish with the rest of this year and heading into 2022?
ST: Well, my goal is to keep working, keep getting work and pursuing my dreams, my passion. My goal in life is… you always have to set big goals. I think big goals are very important, no matter what you do. Hopefully one day, I’ll play Wolverine. That’s my dream role that I want to play. One day, down the road, hopefully maybe I’ll stand on the Dolby stage and get an Oscar.
Thanks again for taking the time, Swen. Take care and stay safe!
ST: Thank you very much, I appreciate you having me on. I look forward to seeing you in the future.